Sometimes you run across a story that defies all comment, rational analysis -- even parody. This is one of those times:
In Surprise, Nobel Peace Prize to Obama for Diplomacy (NYT).
To give a peace prize to the commander-in-chief of a war machine now churning its way through the populations of three countries (Iraq/Af-Pak), with innumerable black ops, lightning raids and drone shots on the side .... to a man who even as we speak is deciding just how he wants to kill even more civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan ... a man who has enthusiastically embraced as "an extraordinary achievement" one of the most heinous and barbaric acts of military aggression since Hitler rolled across the border into Poland ... a man who blusters about leaving "all options on the table," including the use of mass-murdering nuclear weapons, to bully other nations into compliance with American wishes ... to give a peace prize to such a man, while all over the world, there are men and women who have devoted their entire lives to non-violence and reconciliation, many of them suffering imprisonment, torture and ruin for their efforts ... well, like I said, it's beyond words.
But it's good to see that the spirit of arms merchant Alfred Nobel -- purveyor and profiteer of death and destruction -- is being honored so perfectly with today's award.
Arthur Silber has some choice thoughts on the great honour, with a title that says it all: "Depraved, Obscene Absurdities." Here's an excerpt:
Almost no one will acknowledge the single, fundamental truth about Barack Obama, the truth of greatest and most terrifying consequence:
Barack Obama is a war criminal.
Many facts overwhelmingly and conclusively compel this judgment, and no other. Not because I say so, but because an honest application of the relevant language of international law, as well as of the Nuremberg Principles, necessitates the conclusion.
Silber then points us to some excellent chapter and verse backing up that statement of truth. Later on:
History, facts, unimaginable brutality, torture, widescale murder, bodies ripped apart, guts spilling out of blood-drenched bodies, arms, legs and heads sundered and tossed aside to be gnawed on by starving animals, souls destroyed, never again to experience joy or happiness for even a moment -- all of this is minimized, ignored, denied, even mocked as the perpetrators of this immense evil and those who enable and support them (which is most people) claim that those who identify the truth are "exaggerating." "Oh, don't be such a doomsayer. Don't be so gloomy and dire. It's not that bad!"
These denials are easily known to be lies: an honest observer need only open his eyes, look and see. This is precisely what the great majority of people will never do.
Large-scale denial and avoidance impose terrifying costs. Today's story may simply be absurd, and it undeniably is. The man or woman, or child, whose life and mind are seared beyond recognition in the next minute, and hour, and day, and year, in all the nightmare years to come, is condemned to torment and death by the lies upon which we insist, the lies we refuse to give up or even question.
But read the whole thing, and follow the links. Words may have failed me in this instance; but they have most assuredly not failed Silber.
The Guardian gives a view from Kabul on Obama's peace prize:
"I don't know how he can get this prize," said Najeeb, a 30-year-old shopkeeper attending a friend's wedding party. "Maybe it's been awarded for all the houses they are bombing, or perhaps it's for all his soldiers that are dying in Afghanistan and Iraq."
Next to him a local staff member of a western NGO called Elyas wondered whether Obama will ever be able to bring peace to Afghanistan. "Obama and his favourite president [Karzai] haven't been able to do anything here. We used to be able to drive to Kunduz and Mazar-i-Sharif [two northern cities considered safe until recently] but now we can't because fighters are coming to the roads and looting people."
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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on October 10, 2009.